"Resilience" On Our Minds

A resilient petunia grows from a  crack in the concrete. Photo by Brad Waters

A resilient petunia grows from a  crack in the concrete. Photo by Brad Waters

A Psychology Today article that I wrote two years ago, 10 Traits of Emotionally Resilient Peoplehas reached nearly 100,000 visits. That numbers says to me that “resilience” is on our collective minds and we want to know how we can be better at bouncing back from adversity.

Can you relate to the 10 Traits in this article?

Ten years ago this month, Hara Estroff Marano, Editor-at-Large for Psychology Today, wrote in her article The Art of Resilience:

“At the heart of resilience is a belief in oneself—yet also a belief in something larger than oneself. Resilient people do not let adversity define them. They find resilience by moving towards a goal beyond themselves, transcending pain and grief by perceiving bad times as a temporary state of affairs… It’s possible to strengthen your inner self and your belief in yourself, to define yourself as capable and competent. It’s possible to fortify your psyche. It’s possible to develop a sense of mastery.”

So how do we fortify our psyche to ride the waves of adversity rather than being pulled under by the torrent? How is it that some people handle incredible amounts of stress while others quickly fall apart?

Those who master resilience tend to be skilled in preparing for emotional emergencies and adept at accepting what comes at them with flexibility rather than rigidity–times are tough but I know they will get better. The old metaphor applies: resilient people are like bamboo in a hurricane–they bend rather than break. Or, even if they feel like they’re broken for a time, there’s still a part of them deep inside that knows they won’t be broken forever. Here’s how they do it… CLICK HERE to read the 10 Traits at Psychology Today.

(original article updated May 18th, 2015)

Our Relentless Pursuit For The Secrets of Happiness

This May 2013 issue of TIME is all about happiness. It places new research alongside old stereotypes to reveal some game-changing myths and truths about happiness. Here are some highlights:

1. The pursuit of meaningful goals boosts our happiness. (“it’s about the journey, not the destination”)

2. That old saying “money doesn’t buy happiness” is now considered inaccurate. Modern studies indicate money does correlate to happiness, but there are some caveats. For example, “exhibitionist spending” (buying things to impress others) ends in let down.

3. “In a TIME poll, 60% of respondents said they do not feel better about themselves after spending time on social media, and 76% believe other people make themselves look happier, more attractive and more successful than they actually are on their Facebook page.”

4. Research by Stanford neuroscientist Sylvia Morelli: “”Being distracted reduces our empathy for others and blunts responses in the brain,” says Morelli. “So it’s possible that being distracted may also reduce our own happiness.””

Do these highlights tell you anything new or have you discovered them to be true in your life? Would knowing the latest research on how we approach happiness actually change your behaviors and mindset?